What happens to a young girl who thinks she has a normal family including a younger sister, and the whole thing turns out to be a deep fake, so the parents can act as spies for a foreign government. Then, what happens when one of these ‘sisters’ joins the Avengers and they sort of become her new family. The story of Natasha (very ably played by Scarlet Johansson) the super hero who left the dark side for the Avengers is an interesting tale. And as seems to be generally true, Marvel is better at telling origins stories than endgame stories. Like the story about Tony Stark or Dr. Strange, this story holds together taking us from 1995 when Natasha is a young girl in Ohio to the present, where she is a crime fighter extraordinaire. And trust me, the bad guy in this movie is really really bad. He even gives Thanos a run for his money.
The most effective and affecting parts of this movie have to do with the family story. But there is a strong philosophical thread woven throughout. Could some kind of surgery or drug take away a person’s free will and self-determination and make them do the bidding of some wicked mastermind? Apparently, the answer is yes…. but wait there may be an antidote to said condition. You’ll have to see the movie to find out the answer.
Like most good Marvel movies there are excellent action scenes and chase scenes (the one’s in Budapest are especially well done). But these scenes are so BIG they threaten to bury the lead story about the Widow, and as it happens, other widows as well. This movie also doesn’t really have the snarky humor of many of the earlier Marvel movies, and so it maintains it’s serious tone throughout, right to the end, which is not really an end but a ‘too be continued’…. The movie runs for 2 hours and a bit, and interestingly it is the slow or downtime scenes that are the most effective in terms of the acting. I would not call this the best Marvel movie of all, but it is pretty darn good, and for this summer that makes it better than the competition out there including FF9. As it turns out girls don’t just want to have fun, they also want to have family and purpose in life as well, and yes, they can be heroes.